COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) -- If Wake Forest coach Skip Prosser had a
vote on the NCAA tournament selection committee, Maryland would
have an excellent chance of getting in.
On Saturday, however, Prosser and his team severely damaged the
Terrapins' chances of extending their school-record run of NCAA
tournament appearances to 11.
Vytas Danelius scored a career-high 23 points, and No. 11 Wake
Forest held off a spirited Maryland comeback in a 91-83 victory.
It was the sixth straight win for the Demon Deacons, who
clinched at least a tie for third place in the Atlantic Coast
Conference by winning at Maryland for the first time in six tries
John Gilchrist led Maryland (14-11, 5-9) with 26 points, Nik
Caner-Medley scored 20 and Chris McCray added 18. The Terrapins,
who fell into a tie for seventh place in the nine-team ACC, need a
whirlwind finish to qualify for the NCAA tournament.
"I think Maryland played well and is an NCAA level team,"
Prosser said. "Look at who they beat and who they've lost to. When
you play teams of this caliber in our conference, they're going to
bring out the best in you."
"We've got two games left, and we probably have to win both to
get in," Maryland coach Gary Williams said.
That means the Terrapins must win at No. 14 North Carolina State
on Wednesday and beat Virginia at home on Sunday.
"Our backs are against the wall, but that's the way I like
it," Gilchrist said. "I've been an underdog my whole career; it's
nothing new for me."
Jamar Smith, Maryland's only senior, endured his worst college
game. Starting for the 25th time this season, he finished with no
points and no rebounds in just 8 minutes.
Faced with the prospect of clinching its first losing season in
the ACC since 1992-93, Maryland did not go quietly. Down 57-41 with
16:52 left, the Terrapins used a 19-7 run to close to 64-62.
Levy then scored inside and Taron Downey followed with a
3-pointer to make it 69-62, and minutes later Danelius and Downey
hit 3s to give the Demon Deacons an 11-point cushion with five
"I'm certainly proud of our players. We know what was at stake
for Maryland today," Prosser said. "At times it seemed we were
trying to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Somehow we were
fortunate enough to persevere."
Said Williams: "We played well when we got behind, but that
gets old. We've done that quite a few times this year."
Wake Forest had 22 turnovers, but made a season-high 13
3-pointers on 23 attempts. Gray went 5-for-9 and Danelius was
4-for-7 from beyond the arc.
"Perhaps earlier in the year we might not have responded as
well, especially against a team of this caliber," Prosser said.
"We made some big shots and cold-blooded 3s."
The Demon Deacons never trailed after a 10-0 run propelled them
to a 46-34 halftime lead. It was 30-all before Downey and Chris
Paul hit successive 3-pointers and Levy followed with a putback and
a driving layup to make it 40-30.
After making 10 of its first 14 shots, Maryland ended the half
with a 2-for-12 performance from the field.
The Terrapins trailed 23-15 before McCray scored seven points in
an 11-2 run that thrust Maryland into the lead for the last time.
Wake Forest had five turnovers during the span.